Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau.
You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker
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CenterPoint Energy received numerous calls just after 10 a.m. today reporting the smell of natural gas originating in Andover. Rebecca Virden, a company spokeswoman, said the release - which triggered an emergency response plan - was the result of crews performing preventative maintenance and repair at an Andover station. An earlier version of this story reported the smell was also detected in Oakdale -- a report Virden said was miscommunicated due to "confusing" Twitter posts.
It's the mother of all golden birthdays, and a Woodbury boy gets to experience it this week. On Friday, Corey Nagle celebrates his 11th birthday. In case you had missed it, Friday falls on Nov. 11.
The horror is still fresh for one Woodbury woman. While on a Mexican vacation in 2008, she received word that the house she and her family live in had been burglarized. They returned from the trip to find virtually everything of value in their house gone. Jewelry. Electronics. Cash. The family car. Thousands upon thousands of dollars' worth of property had been taken. "There was no end to the list," said the woman, who asked that only her first name, Kusum, be used.
The three incumbents vying for District 833 School Board cruised to comfortable victories Tuesday night. School Board members Ron Kath of Cottage Grove, Jim Gelbmann of Woodbury, and Leslee Boyd of Woodbury were the top three vote getters in the seven-way race for three seats. Kath led all candidates with 2,127 votes. He was followed by Gelbmann, who collected 2,036 votes. Boyd claimed the final seat with 1,964 votes. They outpaced St. Paul Park's Katie Schwartz (1,501) and Joe Ryan of Woodbury (1,471).
It took an off-duty Wisconsin state trooper to apprehend a Twin Cities teenager who stormed out of the Woodbury Walmart with a stolen television, then swiped a knife at a store employee attempting to stop her. Those are the allegations spelled out by Washington County prosecutors in a juvenile petition filed against 17-year-old Elizabeth Thurber of Burnsville. She faces one count of second-degree felony assault, one count of misdemeanor theft and one count of fifth-degree assault, a misdemeanor. She pleaded not guilty to the charges Oct.
The owners of a popular Woodbury dance studio will cut a rug Saturday with some Twin Cities media personalities. Tropical Ballroom plays host Saturday morning to a charity benefit to be staged in the vein of "Dancing with the Stars." Tricia Wood, co-owner of the studio, said the event will feature KSTP meteorologist Patrick Hammer and KS95 radio host Dez. Tricia Wood will be paired with Hammer, while her husband and studio co-owner James Wood, will dance with Dez. Tricia Wood said KSTP will be at the studio beginning at 8 a.m. for a segment to air at 8:40 a.m. Saturday.
Woodbury emergency workers were busy Saturday afternoon responding to two crashes in less than an hour, including a rollover on Interstate 94. The first crash was reported at 1:29 p.m. on I-94 just west of I-494. According to a police report, three vehicles were involved in the crash; one vehicle overturned as a result of the collision. Five patients were transported to Woodwinds Health Campus, according to a Minnesota State Patrol accident report. The crash occurred when one of the motorists, identified as Landfall resident Lynette Elsola, stopped for debris in the lane.
Grace Chandler is ready for lift-off. Fresh off the heels of a prestigious art distinction through a Google contest, the Woodbury teenager now finds herself in dually elite company. Chandler learned last month that her entry in USA Today's "Because it Flew" art contest earned her finalist status. The contest, which honors the end of NASA's space shuttle program, drew hundreds of entries from around the country.
A Republican-led forum on reform issues drew numerous critics of GOP policy Thursday at a Woodbury City Hall meeting that became surprisingly partisan for organizers. House Majority Leader Matt Dean, one of several lawmakers who led the meeting, said it was the first time the so-called "Reform 2.0" sessions had been overtaken by politics. "The politics is counter-productive," Dean, R-Dellwood, said after the meeting. "It's a waste of time." He said he expected a more policy-driven discussion, where citizens could provide input for the legislative process.
Jim Gelbmann said he still has unfinished business. After serving 16 years on District 833 School Board, the Woodbury man said he is seeking re-election in hopes of tackling one last major issue: the state's education finance formula. "The Minnesota Miracle of 1973 has become the Minnesota nightmare for a number of Minnesota districts," said Gelbmann, one of seven candidates vying for three School Board seats. He said districts like South Washington County find themselves at a disadvantage when it comes time for referendum measures.